With the release of the PEI Partnership for Growth economic action plan today, the Island’s business community has outlined its economic vision for Prince Edward Island.
“I was pleased to see the plan recognize that the well-being of all Islanders is critical, and that livable wages, affordable housing, and access to critical services like health care will be central to that prosperous future,” said Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition Green Caucus. “Our caucus could not agree more.”
Yet there is something conspicuously missing in the process.
“The role of government is to create an environment where small businesses and communities can succeed,” said Trish Altass, Official Opposition Green Caucus Critic for Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture. “We have not seen the necessary action or planning from this government that workers and businesses need to thrive.”
PETER BEVAN-BAKER: Government must act now to help Islanders facing crippling costs of living increases
Once again Prince Edward Island is leading all of Canada with a soaring cost of living. According to new Statistics Canada data released today, PEI recorded an 8.9% inflation rate, year over year, in April.
In the spring sitting of the Legislature, my caucus repeatedly called on this Government to share its plan to support Islanders through this unprecedented period of inflation. Instead of a plan, the Minister of Finance, who earns twice the median Island household income, could only offer unhelpful advice to ‘tighten your belts.’ This was not simply a terrible choice of words – it was a clear expression of the King Government’s approach to supporting Islanders.
When given the opportunity to provide Islanders a full carbon rebate—hundreds of dollars more than what his actual plan provides—Premier King questioned whether putting more money in Islanders’ pockets was the best approach. When pressed to rapidly provide food gift cards to Islanders—something that was so easily done for tourists—this government did nothing.
HANNAH BELL: Failure of the King government to deliver its promise of a bike rebate for all Islanders
It was a budget announcement that the public and the Official Opposition celebrated – “…starting this summer, we will be providing a $100 rebate on the sale of any bicycle purchased in Prince Edward Island to encourage active transportation and active living.“ (2022 Budget Address, pg 11)
As this government has shown us over and over again, what they promise and what they choose to do are not the same thing. As I have said before, “The devil is in the details.”
According to information that has been shared with retailers, we know now that the bicycle rebate program will launch on May 20. First the good news. The program will be an instant point of sale rebate at participating Island retailers. Our thanks go out to retailers who are taking on the extra administration and paperwork to deliver this program on government’s behalf.
Spring sitting reveals two visions for Prince Edward Island as King government continues to fail Islanders on healthcare, housing and affordability
Charlottetown, PE – The spring sitting of the PEI legislature gave Islanders two visions for the province.
One is a province where in the face of soaring inflation Islanders are told by government to “tighten their belts”, where the free market dictates housing prices, and Islanders and healthcare workers are abandoned.
The other is a province where Islanders get the support they need during these difficult times, where everyone has access to affordable housing and healthcare, and where healthcare workers are respected, valued and paid what they deserve. During the sitting the Official Opposition Green caucus called on government to build this kind of province, one that responds quickly and effectively to the needs of Islanders.Read more
KARLA BERNARD: Concerns about the lack of transparency over how King government is making decisions to address mental health, addictions, and shelter services
Charlottetown, PE – Today the King government announced the Community Outreach Centre will have a new operator beginning April 18th, 2022. According to a release by the province, operations will be assumed by the Adventure Group with oversight by community partners.
“The news that government is more widely engaging community partners to help Islanders needing mental health, addictions, and shelter services is encouraging. The Adventure Group is a well-respected community organization and I look forward to seeing their vision for the Outreach Centre,” said Karla Bernard, Official Opposition Critic for Social Development and Housing. “However, there are a number of important questions left unanswered in government’s announcement.”
The release provides no mention of the accountability framework that the Adventure Group must operate within. It also does not demonstrate or explain the government’s role in oversight.
“Despite promising to do things differently, the King government has struggled to be transparent and upfront.” observed Bernard. “In November 2020 they signed an untendered $3.7 million, three-year contract with The Salvation Army for it to operate Bedford MacDonald House, Smith Lodge, and Community Outreach Centre without clearly defining expectations for reporting or provision of services. Now, we have another group appointed to do the work without any public disclosure of the process of how they were selected. There is also no disclosure of what happens to the money that was given to The Salvation Army.”
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This bulletin includes updates on the activities of the Green Official Opposition Caucus in March, in the weeks prior to and following the March break.
Read below for:
- At Issue: Carbon Tax
- Green Party of PEI Dream-a-thon April 3rd
Representation and Justice for Women
Supporting Island Workers
- Preventing another potato wart crisis
- Supporting Island Elders
- Investing in upstream mental health initiatives
- Establishing a PEI Environmental Network
- The need for no-barriers shelters
- Protecting money held in trust
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Thank you to everyone who joined us on February 16th to talk about all things Housing at our Housing Forum!
What better way to introduce this update on the Green Caucus' activities in the legislature over the past two weeks than with an inspiring statement that leader Peter Bevan-Baker made in the Leg on the very first day back?
Now is the winter of our discontent. We don’t quote Shakespeare terribly often in this House, but I think that little excerpt from Richard the Third seems entirely appropriate today. It’s been a rough time for the Island since the last sitting in this Chamber.
Omicron has claimed the lives of 15 Islanders. Our national capital streets were paralyzed by protests. Friends and families have endured continued isolation from each other as yet another wave of the pandemic swept around the world and across our province.
More Canadians than ever are finding it hard to put food on the table at the same time that Island farmers are forced to destroy millions of pounds of perfectly good potatoes. Lots of businesses lovingly and carefully built over many years are facing financial hardships created by forces far beyond their control, and unsurprisingly, many people are struggling with mental health issues.
And just last night, the geopolitical stability of our entire world came under threat. You could be forgiven for thinking that Shakespeare was writing about the winter of 2022, but of course, as with everything the bard wrote, that seasonal reference is a metaphor. Winter – the darkest, coldest, cruelest season – represents struggle and hardship. And we all know the first line of that soliloquy, but to understand all that is being said in that speech, you need to read all of it; the rest of the speech. The very next line talks about a glorious summer and suggests that the end of our unhappiness is close.
I certainly hope that’s the case, but as we all know, Island winters can be stubbornly persistent, and I suspect that emerging from all the challenges that we’ve endured over the last two years is not going to be a straight line to the beach days that we all know lie ahead. It will likely be more of a stutter step, an awkward stumbling around potholes and through mud that are cluttering the road ahead.
I want to thank all Islanders who have persevered through this difficult time and who continue to understand that the only safe way to the other side is to travel together, looking out for each other and taking care particularly of our most vulnerable. I hope that all of the divides, large and small, local and global, can be bridged and healed quickly.
In this Update:
This morning Islander's had a rude awakening with a historic leap in the price of fuel. These are numbers we have never seen before.
During business at the Legislative Assembly today, the Leader of the Third Party asked for an emergency debate to immediately cut the provincial tax on fuel. Any debate and discussion that could lead to relief for all Islanders is welcome.
We need to address the full scope of the soaring costs of inflation. Islanders are feeling this at the grocery store, at the gas pumps, as they look at their monthly budget. Islanders need a robust response from the government to slow and soften the rising cost of living.
Any plan must include a change in how we are doing business and how we are leading Islanders in a volatile and uncertain world.Read more
I want to take a moment first to thank the many public servants in the Department of Finance and across government who have worked hard over the past weeks and months to develop this budget.
For the past two years, our Province—along with every other jurisdiction in the world—has had to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. It has had a profound impact on daily life: how we interact with our families, friends and the world around us.
The pandemic has laid bare a plethora of issues—many systemic in nature—that have held back our province and its residents for years. We’ve seen the challenges in maintaining acceptable standards of care for our most vulnerable in long-term care. We’ve seen how our economy buckles when access to childcare is threatened. We’ve seen just how inadequate and ill-equipped our social safety nets are, even in the best of times. And we’ve seen how lower-income Islanders, women, and racialized Islanders continue to disproportionately experience the worst of what our society has to offer.Read more
Official Opposition invites the public to provide feedback on its proposed legislation to provide 10 paid sick days to Island workers
Throughout the pandemic, access to paid sick leave has been a critical tool to protect our communities and support workers. Now, as government relaxes pandemic measures, it is more important than ever that our province is prepared to help both Islanders and our economy weather any health-related storms that come our way.
Trish Altass, MLA for Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke and Official Opposition Critic for Economic Growth, Tourism and Culture, is proposing legislation to amend the Employment Standards Act. The amendments are designed to provide workers with the necessary supports needed to safeguard their health, their families, and their workplaces.